We have our Travel Approval and it looks like our Gotcha date is July 20, and our appointment at the American Consulate in Guangzhou is July 28. We are this very minute working out flight itineraries! It's going to feel like an eternity, but we have lots going on between now and then, so at least we'll be busy! We honestly can't wait.
This trip will be different in a lot of ways. There is the obvious difference: XinQin. I still think about her and she is in my prayers. I imagine her with her "take no prisoners" attitude in the orphanage, but I also remember her crying and being scared. She was scared, and misled, and angry, and didn't have the tools to deal with those emotions. She's where she wants to be, in China. A child's scope can be so narrow. But I truly hope she feels comforted in her choice. I wouldn't wish regret on anyone. Especially a young girl. Again, I tell myself, a disruption like ours rarely happens. But it did. When we lost Kate, our baby girl, it was to a genetic anomaly that rarely happens. But it did. 1 in 12,000. Someone has to be the one. So we figure out how to grow from it. How to redraw our limits. Because the possibility is to come out stronger. I hope we're stronger.
Because we're going to get Will. We are skipping the tour of Beijing this time and will go right to his province, which happens to be Guangzhou, where the Consulate is. No flying from province to province. We'll be in the same hotel with the same guide the whole time. We'll have doctor appointments, visa appointments, all kinds of appointments, and planned outings to explore the area. We'll be able to spend the whole time getting to understand and know our son, and hopefully building the foundations of trust with him. After all, we will be strangers to him.
I think of my granddaughter, Carly, and how comfortable she is in her little apartment with her little routine, how much she loves her parents and gets so excited to see them after a brief separation. She has her favorites and her dislikes and her friends. I consider how it would be if a strange, though well-intentioned couple suddenly showed up and her caregivers handed her over for good. Knowing Carly, she would be disoriented, sad, angry, and might refuse food, touch, play, and sleep. She would not give in easily. And though she is so young, it would change her a bit.
Here is an excellent look at what this kind of transition can mean to an adopting family, from the perspective of the dad. So there will be some major adjusting. I like how this father says this is a marathon, not a sprint. I also like how playful interaction can go a long way in reaching these children who have very basically grown to rely on themselves for comfort and assurance. They need to learn to be dependent on someone else, and that is often the cause of attachment issues. Not all families experience this. But, as we know first-hand, we have to accept the possibility and prepare. But Will is already a blessing to us. He is already a hero to me. He has already braved life. He will have to brave more. So much more. And I want to be the one sharing his tears and triumphs. We want to be the ones giving him the opportunity to love and be loved like only a family can.
Will will have his 2nd birthday before we get there. I will have my 45th birthday while we are in China. We'll have to celebrate. I'm thinking balloons...
And Chinese food.
We are coming, little guy. Ready or not, our lives are going to change. Again.